Erdoğan is always with the people, says Turkish FM after Soma protests

Erdoğan is always with the people, says Turkish FM after Soma protests

Erdoğan is always with the people, says Turkish FM after Soma protests

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan visited Soma on May 14. AA Photo

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has said Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is “always with the people,” speaking of Erdoğan’s controversial response to the mine disaster in Soma.

“The prime minister understands the pain of our people. I spoke with him during the day. He was feeling all these pains in his heart. Everybody knows that our prime minister is always with the people and always feels the pain of the people. Otherwise he could not have got such high support in eight elections in the last 10 years,” Davutoğlu told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in an interview on May 15, responding to a question about the protests that had broken out over Erdoğan’s response to the disaster.

An official mourning period continued on May 16 in Turkey. At least 284 miners were killed after a fire broke out on May 13 in a coal mine in the western province of Manisa’s Soma district.

“This is a very sad event – one of the most tragic accidents to have happened in our republican era,” Davutoğlu told Amanpour in London. “Everything, all efforts will be made to check what was wrong, if there was anything wrong either during this disaster or before, and how it happened.”

Erdoğan visited the site of the disaster on May 14 but was met with jeers, boos, and calls for his resignation.

“I think this was the wrong perception,” Davutoğlu said upon a question about the criticism of Erdoğan’s handling of the tragedy.

The foreign minister also described Turkey’s work safety standards as “quite high.” “[Mine safety] is a challenge that all other nations have to face. Of course, we have been very, very careful in dealing with the safety and security of working life. Our standards are quite high,” he said.

Davutoğlu said these were “emotional times.”

“There can be always demonstrations and we respect the right of the demonstrations. We should not forget that right of demonstration and the rule of law are complementary; they are not against each other,” he said.

Davutoğlu added that Prime Minister Erdoğan had ordered investigations into what happened at the mine in Soma. “All measures will be taken in the future,” he said.